Ask Wendy

Jewish World Review / August 14, 2000 / 13 Menachem-Av, 5760

Marrying 'in' for questionable motivations; Should a do-gooder be reimbursed?

By Wendy Belzberg -- I'm Jewish, but I've never dated a Jewish woman. Recently I was talking to my parents about a woman I've been seeing, and when they asked me her last name, I jokingly said, "Epstein." My mother got very excited.

While we've never spoken about it, it occurs to me that it would make them happy if I "got with the tribe," so to speak. They're getting older; I suspect my dad may pass in the next couple of years. Should I make an attempt to find and court a Jewess to make my parents happy for a while, even though that's not a completely honorable motivation for dating a woman?

What man -- or woman -- do you know whose motivations regarding the opposite sex are completely honorable? Do you dare plead that the ineffable attraction to some body types and personality characteristics is insignificant when following your pheromones? Why not simply add "Jewish" to the list?

When you do the right thing, even if it's done for the wrong reason, it can still be a win-win: Your mate could be a "Jewess" and still fulfill your fantasies. Your parents' happiness does not preclude your own.

My bubbe, may she rest in peace, used to say, "It is just as easy to marry a rich one as it is to marry a poor one." (Intermarriage was not an option.) Substitute the word "Jewish" for the word "rich" and there is your answer.

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I am a father of two girls, aged 7 and 9. I work very hard and only get to spend real time with the kids on the weekends. My question is this; I want to have an independent relationship with each of my girls, but I also want to establish in the little time we have together a sense of "family". Can I spend time with each daughter alone or is it better to be together as a family? How can I manage the time in a way that will be most meaningful to them?

Only in sitcoms do mothers and fathers not go to work but still miraculously provide for their family's needs. Your daughters are old enough to know the difference between television and real life; they already know they are part of a family.

You work hard enough during the week, don't over-think things on the weekends. Your daughters will let you know what they want and what they need. Their needs will differ week to week so don't waste your time with a game plan. Listen to what they tell you, follow their lead and trust your intuition.

An early morning breakfast alone with each of your children once a month at the local diner or the kitchen counter before you go off to work can make you feel less like a weekend dad. And what could feel more special to a little girl than a meal alone with here daddy?

For the record: What about your wife? If you are going to strengthen your family, your wife will need as much attention, if not more, than your daughters.

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I found a wallet in the park with $66 in it. I found the guy's name and address in the wallet, so I called him twice and left messages on his machine that I had his wallet. He never responded. So I finally mailed it to him. Could I have kept the $4 it cost to mail him his wallet back, or was I right in sending back the whole $66?

The man is lucky to have seen his wallet at all, let alone have it returned with all the cash in place. You would have been perfectly within your rights to take the four dollars needed to cover the postage.

I hope you enclosed a note with your name and address when you returned the wallet. If the man is half the mensch you are he will not only reimburse you the postage, but will also send a reward. At the very least, he should write you a lovely note to thank you for going out of your way. Let me know if he does. Imagine if everyone had your persistence and your honesty.

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© 2000, Wendy Belzberg